Short-term rental ruling won’t be appealed

Nantucket will not be appealing a court decisions that could also impact Martha's Vineyard. —MV Times

In a case that could have implications for the short-term rental market on the Vineyard, Nantucket will likely have to revise its zoning rules to accommodate short-term rentals after a recent decision by local officials.

The Nantucket select board announced that the town will not be appealing a March land court decision that has created uncertainty over one of the Island’s largest economic engines. 

The town’s select board announced in a press release on Friday that it would take the “appropriate step to resolve this issue” by amending the town’s zoning bylaws through town meeting, rather than appealing the land court decision.

Massachusetts Land Court Judge Michael Vhay ruled last month that a home that is used primarily as a short-term rental could be considered a commercial enterprise, which isn’t allowed in residential areas. Neighbors to a nearby short-term rental brought the complaint to the land court.

The Nantucket zoning board of appeals was given 45 days from March 14 to determine whether a short-term rental operation would be allowed as an accessory use, rather than a primary use, of a property. If not, the board will need to figure out “appropriate remedies,” according to the land court ruling 

The Nantucket select board plans to discuss the matter further in public during a Wednesday April 3 meeting. 

Town officials and real estate agents on Martha’s Vineyard are watching this process closely, recognizing that towns could be forced to update their own zoning bylaws. 

West Tisbury voters, for example, will be asked to update the town’s general bylaws to regulate short-term rentals at town meeting next week. 

Some housing advocates on Nantucket have hailed the land court decision as a benefit to their efforts, saying that the short-term rental market has helped inflate the price of housing for year-round residents.


  1. If you want to rent your property here on Martha’s Vineyard, you need to live on your property at least seven months out of the year. Otherwise you are running a commercial operation in a residential zone. Marthas Vineyard needs to be your legal address and your legal home enough of this absentee commercialization that is not what RENTALS used to be.

  2. So if you spend May through September on the Island you may not rent your place out for October through April? To some hard working legal immigrant?
    You can change your legal address daily.
    What is Is Donald Trump’s legal address. Where does he in residence than five months a year?
    Nothing is what is use to be, it never will be again, evolution marches on. Hard to say when it all started.

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